The Big Picture: What's at Stake?

A Hypothetical: If you were asked to reduce the operating costs of your facility by a percentage, how would you do it?


For almost every company and organization, industrial facility management comes with the
opportunity to have a major impact.


But what defines impact? Facility managers (FMs) face challenges of all different natures—challenges unique to facility management and challenges specific to that of your given industry. Facility management takes both business intelligence and emotional intelligence;
an eye for cool calculation; and excellent people skills. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facility management as “a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place
and process.”


Facility management takes the ability to identify and seize opportunities in order to benefit the company’s bottom line. And excellent facility management involves creating opportunities and acting upon them.


When thinking about making an impact, a natural inclination is to focus directly on dollar signs. After all, creating value for shareholders is a major driver for corporations—but even if your facility is privately owned, bringing value to ownership is a primary part of your job. But driving down simple costs is only one piece of a complex puzzle. Indeed, in IFMA’s 2014 Trends Report, Maureen Ehrenberg, global director for FM at CRBE, a global real estate and consulting firm, notes: “As an industry and depending on the scenario, there are opportunities to have a productive conversation within [many] areas, but often it digresses into basically a cost-reduction exercise.”


Excellence in facility management involves identifying and creating opportunities, and acting upon them.


Making a true difference involves adding value, optimizing the day to day of your facility for productivity and efficiency, and bringing new ideas to the table. It also involves thinking holistically across all functionality of your environment. Where should one begin looking for these opportunities? Here are a handful of top-level ideas to get you thinking:


Long-term Solutions
Making a more efficient facility means taking both big and small actions. But the one question you should ask about any fix is this: Are your purchases and solutions forward looking? Strategic facility management involves planning for tomorrow as well as today. Simply put, every decision you make has lasting effects, and each should be viewed as an investment in the future of your company.


The Optimized Workspace
Your facility is complex, involving countless intricacies that all affect the work that can occur within your space. Are all areas optimized for workers to be their most productive? Are you applying the same strategies to each space, or do you have individualized plans to best suit those areas’ unique needs? These options range from simple ergonomics (think cushioned
mats where line workers may remain stationary on their feet for hours at a time) to major facility infrastructure improvements.

Energy efficiency in industrial facilities can be viewed as a burden—but this shouldn’t be the case. Improving the energy efficiency of your facility can lead to a variety of recouped costs, from major savings on energy bills to potential federal energy rebates and incentives. What
opportunities exist here that you can be making the most of?


Harness Data
It’s probably something you’ve heard in both your professional and personal life, and there’s no escaping it—big data is all around us. And part of optimizing your industrial facility for productivity and efficiency is about harnessing that data. Modern industry is undergoing
great transformation, and that’s in no small part due to the availability and prevalence of data and the Internet of Things.


Get Smart
Intelligent controls are becoming ubiquitous, and the average industrial facility is ripe with opportunity to implement these advanced solutions. From simple lighting controls to complete integration of all operational systems, it is worth investigating the possibilities at your facility.


What is the “Internet of Things?” Simply, it collectively refers to all things that can connect to the Internet, and it can help offer unprecedented value by exchanging data between devices, systems and services.



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